The Halliday Wine Companion Awards

Winemaker of the Year

By The Tasting Team
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2023 Winemaker of the Year

Glenn Goodall, Xanadu WinesMargaret River, Western Australia

Winemaker of the Year is awarded to the individual whose wines in the Companion this year most exemplify best winemaking practice. It is acknowledged that, even in the smallest winery, credit is never due only to one individual but to a team.

Glenn in the barrel room wearing a Boodjidup Warrior tshirtGlenn Goodall joined Xanadu Wines in 1999 and has been the senior winemaker since 2006.

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Due to his leadership, focus and attention to detail, the wines exude excellence at every price point.

Glenn was nominated for this award last year, and if success was not achieved this year, guess who would have been nominated next year? Glenn started at Xanadu in 1999, and took on the role of chief winemaker in 2006. Since then, the quality of the wines has gone from strength to consistent strength. His belief that the vineyard is central to the success of the wine has steered his winemaking decisions towards prefacing terroir in all wines, from the DJL to the Reserve range.

Due to his leadership, focus and attention to detail, the wines exude excellence at every price point. However, his award-winning wines are not the whole story. It is not enough in life to be good at your job – in Glenn’s case, he has given his time and knowledge generously and freely over many years to the Australian wine show system, he speaks at seminars and contributes to expert panels, and supports his peers local and interstate. His ready smile and open nature are just 'the sauce on the pie at Mossy’s' (ask him). All of this should tell you that Glenn is not only an exceptionally talented winemaker, but a widely loved and respected member of this industry. This award has been a long time coming, and never more deserving. Congratulations. – Erin Larkin

Glenn in the barrel room wearing a Boodjidup Warrior tshirtOriginally from New Zealand, Glenn fell in love with wine on his first trip to Australia when he was 19.

Glenn says, “I really want the variety and the vineyard to be the loudest voice in the glass, not the winemaker.”  

“I place a lot more emphasis in maintaining the integrity of the fruit than in how it’s fermented or what yeast or oak is used. I want the wine to reflect the season and the vintage and the place – I don’t want to smear winemaking all over it.”

Tyson Stelzer on the 2023 Winemaker of the Year

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Previous Winemaker of the Year recipients include Robert Diletti (2015), Peter Fraser (2016), Sarah Crowe (2017), Paul Hotker (2018), Julian Langworthy (2019),Vanya Cullen (2020), Brett Grocke (2021) and Michael Dhillon (2022). 

The 2023 Halliday Wine Companion is available now. Secure your copy of Australia's most comprehensive wine guide here – and at all good bookstores.

*This is an edited extract from the 2023 Halliday Wine Companion, with reviews by Dave Brookes, Jane Faulkner, Ned Goodwin MW, James Halliday, Erin Larkin, Jeni Port, Philip Rich and chief editor Tyson Stelzer.